tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN June 10, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm EDT
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forward to that and hope we will move in a positive direction. >> i yield back. >> mr. larson. >> mr. chairman, thank you, madam secretary and your service. we're in the great state of connecticut, and it's great to have a government that is hands on in terms of its implementation and all the progress that we know that has been made and will continue to be made under this act. mr. chairman i would like to submit for the record a 28-page
report entitled the language of health care, 2009. is there an objection mr. chairman? >> no objection. >> i think i have a great deal of respect for mr. luntz, and stan greensburg, and somebody who spends a lot of time on the science of language in looking at in detail of what people should say around subject matter areas. this was recommended in 2009, and basically mr. luntz describes the ten rules of stopping the washington takeover of health care, and it's informative to even this debate today. for example, one of the things
he says, the arguments against the democratic health care plan must center around politicians and bureaucrats in washington, or not markets and free competition. we will hear a lot of that. it also goes on to underscore you simply must be vocal and passionate on the side of the reform, and the status quo is no longer acceptable if the dynamic becomes president obama is on the side of reform and republicans are against it then the battle is lost and every word of this 30-page document is useless. he goes on to say this and this is the whole paint. it's not enough just to say what you are against, you have to tell them what you are for. it's okay and even necessary for your campaign to center around
why this health care plan is bad for america, but if you offer no vision for what is better for america, then you will be delegated an object shaw northwest. what americans are looking for in health care is what your solution is, what it will provide, the words of more access, and more treatments and more doctors are sure winners. i agree with mr. luntz there, and that's what this subject would be about us providing more access. madam secretary, may i ask you, are you aware of any republican legislative proposals that reduce the number of uninsured in this country by more than 16 million and make sure that we continue to provide all the
benefits of addressing preexisting conditions keeping your children on the plan, and making sure we focus on prevention? >> i have not seen a proposal that does that. >> i think this is worth everybody's reading, and we ought to get back to what this committee should be doing and that's to put americans first and put americans on the road to having the best access, more access, more accessibility and more availability to health care. thank you. >> thank you and time for the gentleman has expired. we are going on to enter into the two to one phase, two on our side and one on the democrats side to keep it equal. >> thank you mr. chairman and madam secretary, and i thank you for giving me a call and time to visit. my biggest concern you made four points, and at the top of
the list, we had 137,000 businesses and most of them were 50 employees or less, so a lot of small businesses. but the biggest issue, and it's before the aca goes back 15 years is affordability, and there was an expectation or a hope that we could bend the curb on affordability. there is no question people will get the subsidyiessubsidies, and they benefit, and there is 1 million in florida but there are many just above the poverty line that don't get the subsidies. small businesses, their cost of trying to provide health care has gone up 20 to 30% the last three or four years, and i talked to another person the other day, it went up 30%, but throughout florida and our region, we are not seeing any reduction or anything in terms of affordability from that
standpoint. many times, last week we had a town hall a couple weeks ago we had one woman that said it was $2,000 to get health care and she can get it for less, but she has to pay some kind of a $10,000 in terms of her health care if she has a claim. but what is your thought about the affordability in terms of subsidies, for those that don't get subsidies? >> when we think about the affordability, we think some progress has been made, and we were seeing raising deductibles and growth, and we have seen a slow in the previousam. the things we have seen slow down is the premium growth across a couple catgoeregoryiescategories. the other thing that is indicative, we have seen the per capita health care gross cost, and the overall cost of health care is probably going to go up
because we have more elderly. >> let me just -- we are short on time. we are not seeing the discounts per say and i would love to have you come to florida and talk to small businesses, and most of it is 20 to 30% increases, and the last couple years they were hopeful but not seeing it, and a lot of the cost gets pushed to the employee. >> that's right. >> so many of the employees that were maybe picking up a couple hundred bucks a month and now paying 500 to $600 out of their wallet, and we like to talk about the middle class but this is putting middle class at risk in terms of health care costs? >> this is what we need to focus on deeply is delivery system reform. that's the idea of better smarter, healthier. by that, it's both about quality and we have to be careful when we talk about this topic because
people hear it, we need to make sure we preserve and improve quality. it's about improving quality and affordability. right now one of the things that we did in january we committed the federal government, that medicare payments 30 of them by 2016 and 50% by 2018 will be based on value instead of volume. we hear what you are saying and that's important to us. >> i have a few seconds. i hope we can focus more on affordability, all of us, because it's bankrupting a lot of people that don't get subsidies, and that's the reality in florida for small businesses and individuals. the focus needs to be on affordability and find a way to bend the curve on health care cost. >> i look forward to working with you on some of the delivery
issues. limited time and a lot to cover here. as you know, as we spoke earlier about the consumer operated oriented plan programs which were the alternative to the public option, and they to date, hhs awarded $2 billion to stablg the plan, and that served over 100,000 people with nebraska and iowa and seized by the state of iowa and since have been liquidated. folks on the plan have been left confused and looking for other plans. i sent a letter on january 23rd asking specific questions, did receive a response on may 21st. i would like to request unanimous consent to submit both of the letters for the record.
thank you. we received $146 million in federal loans and will any of the dollars be paid back to the federal government? >> with regard to that that's a question i will follow-up on. >> iowa and nebraska were told they could not suspend enrollment and have it remain a qualified health plan, yet tennessee was later allowed to do so. do you know why that policy changed? >> per our conversation, i did follow-up with cms and we didn't have the record of that request in any way coming in so i would love for our team to be able to follow-up and understand if there was miscommunication, because based on the comment it was concerning to me when you mentioned it and i went and followed up. if we can work with your staff to understand what your staff understands happened, that would be helpful. >> recent reports claim only one co-op did not have an operating loss in 2014.
is that accurate? >> i would have to go co-op by co-op. >> are there any concerns about possible liquidation of any plans in the near future or distant -- >> with regard to the co-ops, they are new businesses and startups like what we were just talking about and we are going to have failure in terms of the co-ops system, and through seeit went to $1 billion, so we are working closely with the state and state insurance departments to make sure we do things which is make sure as much as possible and where was appropriate we would engage and working with the state insurers to use our authorities we had to make sure consumers were taken care of. >> will any of the consumers
that lost coverage from the failed co-op be penalized by the individual mandate? >> i do not know how many are not still insist systems but i will check on that. >> could the administration support my approach and piece of legislation? >> i would like to see if that's something that happened or not and then review the bill. >> in the bigger picture of obviously sums of money being offered to these consumer operated oriented programs what is the likelihood of those dollars being paid back? >> with regard to the loans that have gone out? i this with regard to a number of the co-ops, that will happen
in terms of the successful co-ops, and maybe there are some that are not and we will get back on that specific question. >> seems to me also that various states relevant to this issue, might have a different approach for paying on the claims that were submitted by -- how on top of this are we? in nebraska, there's a fallback and it hurts more people. i apologize. my time expired. >> we try to support the states with different options. >> madam secretary i appreciate your reluctance to deal with hypothetical legislation that has not yet been written to deal with a legal decision that has
not yet been rendered. i think that's prudent. but if this current takes place by the court it would seem to me that it would not be rocket science, as some of my colleagues have mentioned to make minor changes to conform statutes to the intent and text of the bill and move forward. i think the committee could take one weekend and fix it and move on. i would like to shift gears slightly. we had an ongoing series 6 conversations, and it has been six years since a provision i authored was approved unanimously by this committee, and not just bipartisan, but unanimously dealing with end of life care, and that provision
despite a kerfuffle it fell victim to the reconciliation process. the world has moved on best-selling book, and bill bg frisk and billy graham all agreed this is necessary. you recently received a letter from 65 notable national organizations calling on you to have medical reem -- medicare reimbursement for advanced care planning. as you know the ama did the coding and it's all ready to go and we thought the admin administration was going to be there and yet it lingers. published, peer reviewed research shows it leads to
better care and fewer unwanted hospitalizationed. the list as you personally know is compelling for this service. is the administration prepared to finally move forward and authorize it? >> with regard to as i think you just mentioned the ama gave us the coding and we are in the process of reviewing that, and as we indicated in a recent rule making, we indicated that is something we are working on and reviewing the concern the coding. >> it has been six years since congress embraced it, and this committee approved it unanimously. we have had the research cleared, and the iom dieing in america. i am trying to understand what is it that is so hard to figure out whether or not this is part of the legacy of the obama administration which is done some good things with health care, and this seems to be a
really terrific thing that is really simple that would make a huge difference in peoples' lives, private insurances, and what is it hanging this up? why can't we just get to yes? >> in our conversations with you, this is an issue that we will continue to work on because we juan utah to make sure if we move we would make the progress we intent to make. >> this is one of the few things this committee agreed to unanimously, and we see the difference it makes in human lives and the administration continues to study. i would really hope that this could be part of the legacy and that it's part of the 2016 reimbursement. i find it frustrating beyond my ability to express. i am happy -- i have walked the plank for this administration on things before, and this is really troubling. >> thank you.
time for the gentleman has expired. mrs. jenkins. >> thank you mr. chairman and madam secretary for being here today. i want to echo the comments of chairman ryan and others on the committee regarding the supreme court decision later this month on the president's health care law. many kansasans are poised to lose their subsidies, and they will face a 30% increase next year and that will make their insurance unaffordable. i am extremely frustrated because i had an exchange with your predecessor secretary sebelius three years ago on february 28th of 2012 when she was a witness here before the committee, and on that day i expressed my concern that i did
not see anything in the present's health care law that would allow federal subsidies to flow through non-state based exchanges and i told her the administration did not have the authority to allow the subsidies to flow through the federally facilitated exchanges even though the irs was telling congress at the time the distinction didn't matter, and there is no mention of the term federally facilitated exchanges, and secretary sebelius promised me hhs would give me a detailed answer in writing defending her interpretation of the law, she never did. obviously this issue didn't go away and now the supreme court will finally weigh in on it. i am equally concerned you suggest the decision before the supreme court is just about the subsidies, because it isn't. we have research from the americanqñd8ui action forum that talks about all of the positive
outcomes from a decision by the supreme court against the administration over 11 million individuals freed from the individual mandate, and over 260,000 businesses freed from the employer mandate and thousands -- hundreds of thousands of new jobs and 1.2 million workers added to the labor force, but with limited time, what i would like to do is turn my attention to a different topic. i have introduced legislation the past three years along with my colleague from wisconsin to repeal a provision in the health care law that allows folks to go to the doctor to get a note to purchase medication over-the-counter and this presents patients with red tape
to get over-the-counter medications, and it presents physician with the bizarre scenario to see patients for the note, and this provision makes care less affordable and more confusing and clogs doctor officers and makes patience less likely to use over-the-counter medicine. i was wondering if you think this is good policy and if you would support us in repealing this provision? >> so as i have articulated one of the things we are focused on is the idea of how we can improve quality and move forwards affordability. this specific piece of legislation, i am sorry, i am not familiar with and not familiar in terms of the issue that i think you are trying to resolve. this is one that i would want to understand. i also do want to return to
where you began. >> but in theory would you support this if we can convince the chairman to markup the bill and move it over to the senate? because we have done that once, and it has already passed with bipartisan support out of this committee and out of the house once before. >> congresswoman, i would want to look at the substance of the issue before i can comment on that, and it's not one i am familiar with. >> all right. >> thank you so much. mr. paulson. >> thank you for being here. in the limited amount of time i want to address a couple things. we had a pretty insured rate, and we had a high risk pool for people that had preexisting conditions that has been existing since 1976, and it was not perfect but perked well 37.
a lot of the headlines, and similar to what we heard from the colleagues, the headlines over the last few weeks in minnesota, it appeared some of our papers showed the experience under the new exchange under the president's health care law has been affecting their pocket books. minnesota health care plans has hikes from 11 to 74%, and another story here, blue cross and blue shield of minnesota, which is the largest insurer in the individual market and you mentioned the individual market they propose average increases of 54%. so this is a pocket book issue for families and individuals and small businesses alike and that's why i do hope regardless of the court decision and how that goes that we will be able to work with the administration on addressing some of the affordability costs. when you are talking about premiums, this goes to the heart of affordability as opposed to talking about per capita health care cost being lowered in
medicare and areas like that, and just commentary that i hope the cooperation will be coming forward and we need that in a host of issues if we solve some of the problems instead of digging in and protecting what it is now. we talked about the technology, and america has been a leader in developing technologies and cures and an innovation that happens at a rapid pace, and the regulatory process and i think american-made technology is made to citizens and other countries and it's not available to our patients here at home. the number one concern that i hear now, the biggest hurtle they face is cms and the lack of certainty surrounding coverage and reimbursement and these decisions could take two or three years and that's after the
devices have already been approved, and they have already been approved and this creates a lot of uncertainty to those that want to use the best technology for their patients. what can hhs do to make sure that we are bringing certainty to the coverage, to the coding and reimbursement process for medical technology that quite honestly can lead to less invasive procedures and a whole host of health care costs and save money and it's an em right now? >> we want to talk about the growing health care costs and making sure the evidence-based decisions in terms of cms saying they will pay for it, and first they determine the safety and we
will continue to move things through quickly and also try to figure out the way we balance it. if you have ideas that is faster, that's something we would welcome. it's important to touch on the premium issue. what has been in the news is part of the aca's effort to make sure we have transparency and downward pressure on premium ppz what has been in the news recently, any premium increase that is above 10% has to be reviewed, and it has to be reviewed by state insurers. what you are seeing in the space right now, and i am not sure of all the headlines you read, but a number of the headlines are about the fact these are now their first submission and last year we saw them come down because the review process works because there are conversations like this in public that it creates downward pressure on the premiums, and it's part of the process and doesn't reflect the whole base. most insurers are saying the majority of their people that
they think they will enroll in 2016 will have premium increases in less than ten. we agree with you on the importance of the downward pressure. >> thank you. mr. kind. >> thank you for being here, madam secretary. obviously there is a lot of attention and focus on what comes down in the court, and in your opinion how quickly could this congress f. it wanted to enact legislation language to fix it overnight if it's an adverse decision from the supreme court? >> i think i wouldn't -- i would be hesitant for me to say -- >> well, the willingness? >> i think the question the issue if it's ruled that it's about the subsidy that is a relatively simple solution that one can do legislatively with regard to subsidies or those in the federal marketplace. >> i come from wisconsin, and i
never have seen a greater act of fiscal malpractice by the government and his denial of the medicaid expansion money. in his budget he is proposing over $3 million in cuts, but if he took the medicaid expansion it would bring into the state $350 million over the next two years. it seems to be basic math and his denial of that, not only denying people who are tough to cover to begin with but also getting that money into the state where it can do some good in wisconsin. i know you, especially, and hhs, have been working closely with many other republican governors throughout the nation to figure out a path forward on waivers and modifications and sl÷that, and i would encourage you to continue those lines of communication because we need help in wisconsin. he rejected the ability for us to form our own exchange so we are in the box and we could have created our own health insurance
exchange, and if we get an adverse decision 166,000 wisconsinites would lose their insurance. there is a lot riding on this decision, and hopefully we will be able to continue to work with the states and convince them to do the right thing especially in wisconsin where we need the help. i appreciate your focused on the payment reform, and getting to the reimbursement system. i agree with my colleague, mr. buchanan, more needs to be towards cost containment. in your estimatation, how quickly can we go to a quality-based reimbursement system? >> when one considers medicare dollars are a large portion, we
think we can move to 50% by 2018, and the goal be while we serve out. we think you can get to 50% of medicare, and at the.the point of which 50% medicare is based on value. i am meeting with the insurance ceos as well as ceos of companies, because those are the other payers. in new york state medicaid has committed to do the same thing we are. the path that we have medicare on is close to the trajectory in terms of moving towards more value. >> mentioning new york why do you think more states are not taking up this challenge? >> i think more states are interested, and in our conversations with states a number of states are not wanting to have the public commitment. a number of states are part of the network and across all
states i can look around and have talked to governors from a number of your states that are willing and thinking about this, because they believe getting to value-based payments in medicaid, which is a large expense for the states is a very important thing. i think there are more states interested that are not at the point of public commitment. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we are now going to move to three minutes a person in order to try and fit in as many people as possible. >> secretary burwell in the period of time the affordable health care act was being adopted, for probably the most unpopular aspect of it and most debated in my district were the ipab panels. many names were given to those panels, and yet last week i think i was able to cast a vote publicly that would abolish that
panel. yet, there is talk about strengthening the panel, and there is talk about expanding the panel. could you give us an explanation of what this talk is all about and what the purpose of it is? >> with regard to the changes around ipab it's to strengthen and increase the medicare savings. as we have all discussed health care usas and the issue of health care costs and medicare being at the core of that is a very important one. what we are hopeful, and in the budget the $423 billion, i know there are those that disagree with the balance that we have of provider and beneficiariy approaches to getting that money, but it's a tool and a tool that the congress would still engage with because you
all would approve of anything that was suggested by -- they would have an opportunity to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down. medicare expenditure is a tough issue, and it's a tough issue for everybody in terms of even the issues we are talking about about payments for dme or other things, and that's what drives the costs upward. we believe it's a tool in the toolbox. we actually in our own budget are depending on specific issues that the congress could review and right now ipab it would not kick in, and the president's budget it would be 2019, and if you don't duty changes we do it would be in 2020, and that's obviously in another administration. >> why has the president not named anybody to the panel? >> with regard to the issue of panel members, it's something that we believe we should do in consultation with the congress. so that has been a place, and i
think it's because of, as you were expressing making sure if you are going to name a panel that there is appropriate congressional input. and the other thing is at this point, now that we see the numbers and we have made improvements in terms of the l &5y funds viability over increased by many years the need is not for now, and it would be in another administration, so the question of us naming the panel now -- >> so the president will not name a panel in his administration? >> at this point with regard to where we are in the budget, we have not yet done it. >> the time for the gentleman has expired. mrs. black. >> thank you mr. chairman and secretary for being here. the affordable care act requires the exchanges to determine if applicants were offered health insurance by their employer, and if they were offered that comprehensive and affordable coverage then those individuals
are not eligible for the premium tax credits. the general inspector reported in this report stated that neither the federal nor the state exchanges were able to verify most individuals attestation that they were not offered health insurance by their employer. this is happening despite the fact that the burden and the costly reporting requirements have been placed upon our employers. what is it that hhs is doing to make sure that people receiving these credits are legally eligible for them? >> this is the aptc that you are referring to, correct? >> that's right. >> with regard to that, we have a data matching process that we are doing and it checks both immigration status as well as income status and that's one of the processes we are doing to make sure that people who are eligible, and we release numbers i think you saw last week where over 100,000 people came off the
rolls because we were not able to verify the information. it is a process last year that took a longer period of time and now we improved to a 90-day period of time. >> let me go to the other part of this which involves the to the other part of this which involves though irs. individuals' applications are asked if their employer offered them health insurance and the exchanges then are required to provide the response to the question along with information related to the employer to the irs in a monthly data report. this report, again, found that the treasury found that neither the cms nor many of the state exchanges were able to submit this information until well after 2015 filing season was complete. it appears that two of those state exchanges have still not provided that required information. this is just one example of the numerous delays from cms when it comes to obamacare. healthcar.gov took over $1
billion to build and get -- it's apparent these systems are still not fully functioning based on this report. cms undertook this mammoth project without effectively planning for the development or oversight. this has led to hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars being wasted. my question is, can you outline the oversight being conducted to ensure the legal requirements set up by the law are met and the systems are properly developed to protect our taxpayer dollars? >> i want to check because this report, as you all know, there have been over 50 audits of the affordable care act. i want to make sure i'm focused on the right one. with regard to the one you're speaking about, we are now in a place where the information is going from the federal marketplace to the irs on a monthly basis. with all of these audits from igs and the ga o'we continue to work through their suggestions.
i think that's that one. we'll follow up if it's not the case that we're now in a monthly -- >> i'd really appreciate your following up because it is related to this. >> mr. pasporal. >> i'm pleased that during your confurmation process you expressed the improvement of safety medical devices. a few of us have brought that up. by incorporating the fda's new unique device identifier the udi, system into health insurance claims myself and chairman brady have talked about this in the past. i'm asking you today despite this widespread support that some in the cms -- i'm putting it mildly -- have resisted this public health and public safety effort. so we need the tools. could you committee to work with
the committee this summer to move the policy forward? >> i think we will make something that has been more implementable. we are working on it. it's something your comments and the chairman's comments are something that i recognize when i came in. we look forward to working with the committee further. >> you think that if my colleagues on the other side cobble together all of the time they spent trying to undermine the aca they would have been able to come up with an alternative. they can't find anything good to say about it. anything. so in this committee alone we've had over a dozen hearings just on issues relating to the individual and employer mandates. many members in good faith brought this up today. not to mention nearly 60 floor votes to repeal or undermine the
aca. that's what this is about. and how many have we had on this elusive republican alternative i keep hearing about? zero. the reality is that this act is working. it has problems. medicare has problems. medicaid has problems. this is a very imperfect world madam secretary. more than 10 million americans have health coverage through the marketplaces. 85% receive tax credits to help the cost of coverage. so while we're waiting, i'm interested in one question. as the aca impacted employer-sponsored insurance offer and take-up rates, and does the aca maintain the financial incentives for employers to cover and to offer coverage? that's my question. >> so this past week we have
seen a piece of work by the urban institute with regard to the number of employer-based. the statistics we have, certainly cbos changes to its numbers. most recent changes to the aca numbers have to do with the fact they now have lowered the number of people they think will switch from the employer based market to the -- and the urban institute numbers said they are in percentage basis, it's been a very slight. so i would call it basically the same. it's a slight tip up but not numerically, i think significant. actual mant nance of those in the employer-bassed market. there's not been a decrease. >> thank you. mr. young? >> madam secretary, thank you for being here today. the president after the g7 summit this week said the affordable care act is working. part of what's bizarre about this whole thing is we haven't had a lot of conversation about the horrors of obamacare because
none of them come to pass. and he continued somewhat oblivious seemingly to things i'm hearing in my own district saying, quote, it hasn't had an adverse effect on people who already had health insurance. i'm frustrated, and i know many hoosiers are frustrated bir edd by some of the adverse impacts from diminished coverage options to lack of accessibility in their own communities for care. a lot of people are being squeezed when they go into it. and then the penalties. the mandate taxes that exist if they can't afford to buy health insurance. and so i just want to humanize this a little bit for you because i know you're quite conversant in the statistics and the goings on of much of this health care law. patsy from my district in
jeffersonville indiana, her premium went up $135 a month. she no longer has access to the family physician that's cared for her for over 35 years. brandon's famley's deductibles are too high and they make just enough that they don't qualify for assistant. jason from georgetown had to consider paying the mandate tax because he couldn't afford the incrise increased premiums on the exchange. deborah's premiums skyrocketed to $800 a month, more than her mortgage payment. these are illustrative of what are larger problems in every state across the country, every congressional district. and, you know to use the president's own words, these horror stories haven't come to pass. they are coming to pass. they are in existence right now.
i just want to know what you believe, madam secretary i should tell my constituents who are trying to comply with this law. are they merely collateral damage? >> so with regard to the examples and stories, i think they are important and important to combine with the numbers. 16.4 million people in our country are no longer uninsured, and the stories -- i hear those stories and respect those stories but having traveled 22,000 miles and been out, i heard the story from the woman in texas who said you want to know how to treat m.s.? get sick enough to go to the emergency room and they'll treat you. now she said i will know how. >> how do we know -- what do we do for these hoosiers who don't qualify for a hardship exemption? >> we need to make sure, have they exhausted that remedy. >> i made sure they have. our office has. >> there is the issue of coverage to care and helping
people understand how to select the right plans. the plans on the marketplace are very varied. there are many in terms of questions of deductibility and that sort of thing. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you, madam secretary for being here. earlier on you said the administration is looking for fixes and improvements to the aca. i want to run by a couple of them. it's disingenuous if you don't help make some of those fixes. one deals with seasonal employees. i'm not sure if you are aware of the conflict with that definition and some of the difficulties it's causing people in my district and across the country. also the hospital readmission program. this program was aimed at reducing unnecessary hospital readmissions. the goal was really something that i would support and probably many of my colleague support. it's estimated that nearly $18 billion per year is wasted on
avoidable readmissions. the implemtsation of this program has been problematic especially for those hospitals serving low-income patients. patients eligible for medicare and medicaid are more likely to be readmitted within 30 days of discharges regardless of proper post charge care. do you believe the criteria can be improved by adding clear adjusts for dual eligible status and other plan readmissions. >> i agree on the issue of socio-economic status. we had a proposal and rule making and suggestion of how about to make some of the kinds of changes. we received an important issue, not the right waughy to go about it. congress has given us money to do this specific study. we look forward to working with
you on how we correct it. we believe it is an important issue. i want to analytically understand how we can account for that and do what your beginning point was, which we know we have more readmissions than we should in terms of quality and price. that's something we'd like to do. we proposed it and clearly didn't get it there. >> ensuring beneficial equity in the hospital readmission program. a bill that i've introduced which has bipartisan support that i would hope the administration would consider and support. also on seasonal employees stars act hr-863 really to clarify the conflicting definitions between seasonal woorkers and seasonal employees which is causing compliance problems for both employers and individuals. interactions between seasonality, the employer mandate and individual mandate really create opportunities for accidental noncompliance resulting in significant tax penalties for american workers
and business alike. that's other issue i hope we can work on. these are issues for fixing or improving the current law. thank you and i yield back. >> i understand the secretary has a hard stop. i regret the fact that every member will be able to ask questions of the witness at this moment. i'd like to invite any member particularly those who did not have the opportunity to give us the committee their questions in writing, we will submit them to the secretary, to the witness. i ask the secretary to respond in a timely manner to these questions from the remaining members. with that -- >> i'd be happy to. i think a number of you have my cell number. feel free. >> with that, to honor your time your deadline the hearing stands adjourned.
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>> good morning. this hearing will come to order. i want to first welcome our witnesses. thank you for your very thoughtful testimony you've provided in written form. looking forward to your oral testimony and answers to our questions. i do want to point out that this hearing is necessary. i think it is unfortunate that, you know, some information was leaked prior to our ability to really completely analyze it. we want to make sure that as we're asking questions, as you're answering questions, that we don't reveal classified or sensitive information to give our enemies information to harm
us. but the fact of the matter is, if we're ever going to solve any problem -- i've said this repeatedly from this chair -- we have to recognize and acknowledge reality. we have to describe it. the purpose of any hearing under my chairmanship is that in the end, following the hearing, that every member of the audience takes the first step in solving any problem, which is admit we have one. certainly as i've been reading the briefings, i've been thinking about the struggles of the tsa since it was first established. understanding how it's got two missions and they're by and large almost completely contradictory. on the one hand, we're looking for 100% security to keep airline and -- not only airline but all public transportation 100% safe and secure. on the other hand, we're looking for complete efficiency so the lines don't back up. we're looking for efficient
throughput through the system. it's an enormously complex and difficult task. because of the leaked information -- and inspector general roth, i've got to commend you for your independence, for taking a hard look at this, doing the inspections, the investigations that i think are appropriate. we're finding out that contradictory goal, we're not meeting both of those. not by a long shot. so certainly with secretary johnson, with inspector general, with the acting tsa administrator now and the tsa nominee, i've had some pretty serious discussions. i've asked them to completely analyze the problem. start thinking outside the box. we need to look at more effective solutions, and we have to start prioritizing what we can do that's going to improve security in the most effective way. an example i will use is after 9/11, a pretty simple solution is provide us the greatest
security so airlines can't be used as the most effective weapon, being able to fly into things like the world trade center. that was just locking the doors and securing the cockpit door. but we found out with germanwings that's not a complete and total solution either. it creates some unintended consequences. again, the point i'm making is this is an enormously complex and difficult issue. we need to approach the solution soberly and honestly. i would like to ask unanimous consent to have my written opening statement entered in the world. also point out we had another witness, mr. jason harrington. he was unable to make it due to illness. he was a transportation security officer at the chicago o'hare international airport from 2007 to 2008. he submitted written testimony in preparation for this hearing. i ask unanimous consent to put his written testimony in the
record as well. i would like to read a couple stats that describe the difficult mission of the tsa. tsa is comprised of 46,000 transportation security officers. 20% of the tsa employees are veterans. that's a good thing. i'd almost like to see that increased. tsa screens nearly 2 million passengers each day. 2 million passengers each day. nearly 660 million every year. that is an enormous challenge and task. tsa screens 1.1 million checked bags, 3 million carry-on bags for explosives and other dangerous items on a daily basis. tsa used more than 700 advanced image technology machines at airports nationwide. tsa is responsible for the security of 25,000 domestic flights per day, 2,500 outbound international flights per day. it also secures 4 million miles of roadways, 140,000 miles of railroad track, 600,000 bridges
and tunnels, 350 maritime ports, 2.6 million miles of pipeline. again, it's an enormous challenge. so we need to recognize that reality. again, take a look at this problem as one that's a significant challenge and talk about it as honestly as possible if we're going to really find solutions. with that, i'll turn it over to our ranking member, senator carper. >> thanks, mr. chairman. thanks for bringing us together today. our thanks to our witnesses. good to see you all. thank you for your attendance, your preparation, and your willingness to respond to our questions. few federal agencies interact with the american people more on a daily basis than does tsa. men and women who work there have a very difficult but extremely important job. last month i spoke on the senate floor about two women who have dedicated their lives to keeping our aviation system and its users secure by working for tsa. in fact, one of these two women
was shot in the line of duty and showed up for work the very next day. every day these women and their colleagues, thousands of them around the country, work in a very challenging environment to keep our aviation systems safe and for those of us who use it safe and secure. we don't do enough to acknowledge that and to thank them when they do their jobs well, which is almost all the time. while i believe it's important for us to recognize exemplary performance when it's done at tsa or throughout other parts of the department of homeland security more often than we do, this committee also has an obligation to exercise our oversight responsibilities when performance falls well short of that standard. thanks to our witnesses before us today, we've been alerted to a number of instances where performance by tsa and its employees appears to have been disappointing and even troubling. just yesterday, for example, we learned from the inspector
general that 73 individuals with possible links to terrorism have been granted credentials to access secure areas of airports across our nation. last week, of course, we learned about significant vulnerabilities at passenger screening checkpoints uncovered by the inspector general. the reported failure for detecting prohibited items at checkpoints are more than troubling. they are unacceptable. i look forward to reviewing the department of homeland security inspector general's full report and recommendations later this month, later this summer. that said, i'm encouraged by the swift action taken by the secretary of homeland security to address the inspector general's findings. since 2011, transportation security administration has transitioned from a one size fits all screening philosophy to one that's more risk based. that approach is designed to allow tsa to deploy its limited resources to the areas where we face the greatest threats. however, as the inspector
general and gao have identified such a swift transition may have created vulnerabilities to this system. given recent reports, it's more important than ever for the transportation security administration to have a permanent senate confirmed leader in place. i thank the chairman and his staff for working so quickly and cooperatively with my staff so that we can move the nomination of vice admiral, which we'll examine at a hearing tomorrow. with that, we look forward to the testimony. thank the witnesses for appearing here today. grateful that the current front line employees who joined us today to discuss the perspectives of how to improve tsa. one last personal thought. my father used to drive my sister and me crazy when we were kids growing up by saying some of the same things over and over and over again. one of these things he said over and over again is if a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well. he said that hundreds of times, maybe thousands of times. and out of that, i took this lesson. we should be focused on perfection.
we'll never get there, but that should be our goal. and if it isn't perfect, we need to make it better. clearly some things are going on at tsa that fall well short of perfection. our job is to help you get closer, help them, tsa, get closer to that goal to better protect the people who use the airlines, including all of us. thank you so much. >> thank you, senator carper. i would only add to a request for perfection is the way you achieve it is through continuous improvement. it is the tradition of this committee to swear in witnesses. if you'll all stand and raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony you will give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you. please be seated. our first witness is john roth. mr. roth is the inspector general for the department of homeland security. prior to serving as dhs' inspector general, mr. roth was director of the office of criminal investigations at the
food and drug administration and also had a decorated career as a federal prosecutor with the department of justice. inspector general roth? >> chairman johnson, ranking member carper, and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here to testify today to discuss our work examining tsa's programs and operations. before discussing tsa's challenges, i'd like to acknowledge the tsa whistle-blowers i join on this panel today. we are grateful when tsa employees, as well as employees from other parts of the department of homeland security, are willing to step forward to identify problems within the agency. whistle-blower disclosures have saved lives as well as taxpayer dollars, and whistle-blowers play a crucial role in keeping our department efficient and accountable. we review over 16,000 complaints per year, more than 300 per week, to better understand and respond to potential waste, fraud, and abuse in the department's programs and operations. with regard to tsa, we face a
classic asymmetric threat in attempting to secure our transportation systems. tsa cannot afford to miss a single genuine threat without potentially catastrophic consequences. yet, a terrorist only needs to get it right once. tsa's thousands of transportation security officers conduct tedious tasks that require constant vigilance. complacency can be a huge detriment to tsa's ability to carry out its mission. ensuring consistency across dhs' largest workforce would challenge even the best of organizations. unfortunately, although nearly 14 years have passed since tsa's inceptions, we remain deeply concerned about its ability to execute its important mission. since 2004, we have published more than 115 audit inspection reports about tsa's programs and operations. we've issued hundreds of recommendations to attempt to improve tsa's efficiency and effectiveness. we have conducted a series of covert penetration tests,
essentially testing tsa's ability to stop us from bringing in simulated explosives and weapons through checkpoints as well as testing whether we could enter secure areas through other means. we identified vulnerabilities caused by human and technology based failures. i am aware of the media reports regarding our most recent testing. although the details of those tests are classified, and i will not be able to speak to the specifics of them in the hearing today, i welcome the opportunity to brief members of this committee and their staff rargd our findings in an appropriate setting. we've also audited and reported on tsa's acquisitions. our audit results show that tsa faces significant challenges in contracting for goods and services. despite spending billions on aviation security technology, our testing of certain systems has revealed no resulting improvement. we've examined tsa's approach to risk-based screening. while we applaud the concept of risk-based approach in
transportation security, our audits and inspections have uncovered significant vulnerabilities, and we have deep concerns regarding the manner in which tsa manages this risk. this includes tsa's use of managed inclusion, its risk assessment rule in granting expedited screening to those who are not part of pre-check, and the administration of the pre-check program itself. we have also examined the performance of tsa's workforce, which is largely a function of who is hired and how they are trained and managed. our audits have repeatedly found that human error, often a simple failure to follow protocol every time, poses significant vulnerabilities. we have also looked at how tsa plans for, buys, deploys, and maintains equipment. these weakness have a real impact on transportation security as well. tsa has taken some steps to implement our recommendations and address security
vulnerabilities. nevertheless, some problems appear to persist. while tsa cannot control all risk to transportation security, many issues are well within its control. sound planning and strategies for efficiently acquiring, using, and maintaining screening equipment, for example, would go a long way towards improving overall operations. tsa needs to have a better understanding of the limitations of its technology and develop strategies to counter those limitations. better training and better management of tsos would help mitigate the effects of human error that although never eliminated could be reduced. taken together, tsa's focus on management practices and oversight of its technical assets and workforce would enhance security as well as customer service for air passengers. mr. chairman this concludes my prepared statement. i'm happy to take any questions you or other members of the committee may have. thank you. >> thank you, mr. inspector general. our next witness is rebecca roering. ms. roering is the assistant federal security director for inspections at the
minneapolis-st. paul international airport. during her 25 years of government service, she's also served the federal aviation administration as a federal air marshal and civil aviations security inspector. roering. >> chairman johnson, ranking member carper, and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here today to discuss important security concerns related to the tsa and security at our nation's airport. the mission of tsa is to ensure the freedom of movement for people in commerce, which is undeniably a difficult challenge. it is also the mission of tsa to protect the traveling public against terrorist attacks. the ability of tsa to execute its mission has been called into question by many oversight groups. my testimony today will focus on a number of the security concerns and agency policies that result in vulnerabilities in morale issues across our work force. over the recent years, tsa has hired into leadership positions a number of former airline executives and others who place more emphasis on customer service and passenger wait times than on security and detection
rates. any wait time that's deemed by the agency as excessive requires immediate reporting, a thorough analysis, and corrective action. conversely, the local monthly testing of our officers to determine their ability to detect weapons and explosives is not associated with any performance metric. whin this testing results in a failure to detect the item, there's a remedial training required before the officer may return to duty. a tsa officer may never be subjected to a covert test based on the current volume of the assigned tests each month, limited resources to conduct the test and the sheer volume of our officers. the regular testing on the regular basis, the lack of leads to complacency in the workforce. it's not until recently that detection rates has become a topic of discussion at tsa. this is a direct result of covert testing at numerous airports identifying detection rates that cause great concern.
leadership recognize that poor detection rates are related to the poor morale across the workforce. the 2014 federal employee viewpoint survey resulted in tsa receiving the lowest ratings and tsa receiving more than their fair share of low marks. while our front line employees feel strongly the work they do is important, they aren't valued by our leadership. the job of a tsa officer is a challenging one with a great deal of pressure and scrutiny. a culture of fear and distrust has been created in the agency, also impacting the morale of our employees. this is clearly documented in the results of the survey. equally as troubling are the security gaps with the tsa precheck program. while it is essential, tsa has expanded precheck to large populations of passengers who have not enrolled in or paid for the program.
in fall of 2013 i expressed my concerns with the expansion of precheck. i later reported the concerns to the office of special counsel for investigations. my allegations were substantiated by the dhs inspector general and a report titled security enhancements needed to the tsa precheck initiate ifr. tsa is handing out precheck status like halloween candy in an effort to expedite passengers as quickly as possible despite self-admitted security gaps created by the process. the precheck enrollment program did not meet the expectation nrs terms of volume. precheck rules keep improving even though the agency is well aware of the associated risks. as documented in recent reports the insider threat continues to present a security concern at our nation's airport. although some form of screening
is done on checked baggage, there are some that have access to sterile areas of the airport subjected to only criminal hift rye record checks and security threat assessments. this group has unimpeded access to aircraft and some of these employees who worked at the msp airport later traveled to syria to fight for isis. tsa has increased the use of playbook teams with a focus on insider threats. at many locations the federal security director is reluctant to initiate enforcement action against the airport or air carriers. a conflict of interest exists when the fsd relies on the airport and air carrier to provide certain services and on the other hand has overaural responsibility for the execution of the regulatory program. transportation and security inspectors are being used by the fsd to provide a warm wide range of duties not related to their core functions. such dood duties include moveing
bins at the checkpoints and determine such items as whether there is hand soap in the rest rooms or if the staff is friendly. these audits should be done by a contracting officer rather than regulatory inspectors. dhs should consider the reporting structure to eliminate any potential conflicts, misuse of their time and pressure to avoid enforcement actions. tsa use pros hibitted personnel practices to pressure employees to resign when management wants them remufd from the agency. when allegations of misconduct occur by employees in certain positions the fsd must rier ifefer the allegations to the office of inspection. it is a waste of taxpayer dollars it to use criminal investigators to conduct routine administrative investigations and destroys the morale and
trust of our workforce. in conclusion, the culture that exists at tsa is one of fear and disterrorist. distrust. leadership at the agency is certainly in a position to impact change. better training and management of the workforce resulted in improvement to morale and detection rates. if a tsa employee feelss valued and respected, the metrics will reflect this in a positive way. dhs should reconsider the reporting structure for inspectors to avoid any conflicts. mr. chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. i welcome any questions from you or any members of the committee. >> our next witness is robert maclean. a federal are a marshal who blew the whistle regarding a tsa plan to alter mission schedules. he was fired by tsa for
disclosing this information but eventually reinstated after appealing his improper termination. he's a federal air marshal based out of los angeles field office. mr. maclean? >> thank you chairman johnson ranking member carper and other members of the committee. it's a great honor to be here as an active duty tsa federal air marshal. due to my 12-year case that finished before the spleem court and my role as a national whistleblower for the national law enforcement officers association, which is not a union, dozens of tsa federal air marshals come to me with their concerns about aviation security threats. this is a huge responsibility. being a voice for those tasked with stopping terrorism. the public wants to enjoy the miracle of flying on airliners. they are tired of complaints and want their tax money spent wisely on realistic measures. the 9/11 attack should have proved how volatile it is inside
a crowded, pressurized thin tube traveling 40,000 feet up in the sky. the air marshal's biggest concern, bombs. improvised explosive devices. bombs. if a terrorists group puts thought into it, it's easy to sneak bombs onto jets to blow up at high altitude. bombs won't just pass through checkpoints but unwillingly or unknowingly by workers bringing in a megaton of workers. that cargo includes food, drink condiments cooking oil and cleaning products and then all of the packaging that goes with it. then you have all the dense stacks of newspapers and magazines and books. this mountain is nowhere near getting the screening that passengers are getting at the checkpoints. a bomb smuggler will hide a needle in a hay wagon before
sneaking a steak across a pack of wolves. take more tsos off checkpoints. get exhausted air marshals out of airline chairs and deploy them deep inside the bowels of the train stations and airports to do traditional foot patrol such as the uniformed viper teams and the uncover red teams. when i flew missions i tried to find that terrorist, but instead i interrupted three illegal smuggling operations because i learned the mundane of the traveling public and built rapport with the airport workers, knowing the area real well and simply reading faces. tsa pre-check with the improvements that were pointed out should be greatly expanded and should be free of charge. more people in pre-check frees up resources to focus on attackers. i would like to see tso's roaming airports with mobile precheck application kits and
soliciting passengers during their delays. we need to have more faith in human intelligence gathering and the intuition of bold officers. in order to get more air marshals on the ground, you need to secure the flight deck or cockpit where pilots are in control of the jet. every flight deck should have a modified shotgun with an emergency lock switch. they are ideal since the primary concern is to stop an attacker trying to force the door open. in a highly unlikely miss, shotgun pellets will not harm passengers. spend a week being trained and issue a 20 caliber semiautomatic pistol can miss and kill an innocent passenger at the back of the cabin. once again this is highly unlikely, but it's possible. armed pilots are not allowed to carry their pistols due to very
restrictive handgun laws in foreign countries. but a shotgun modified to stop one or two hijackers trying to break into the cockpit from one foot away would be an aim for a host country to deny and risk another 9/11-style attack. it's a rink when a pilot opens the flight deck door. an amped up attacker can dive inside and destroy the jet. there's a cheap and perfect solution to this. secondary barriers. ten horizontal cables attached to a vertical pole a flight attendant can stretch across the forward galileeley and lock in place. it gives the pilot plenty of time to get back into the flight deck. a way to control sucider attackers setting up a ruose. every cabin should be equipped
with restraint systems. flight crews and law enforcement officers need the legal authority to deputize and indemnify vetted able-body passengers to protect themselves and the jet from destruction. we can do this process during our precheck. there's no reason why an athlete or military member can walk deep into the cabin to restrain somebody during precheck enrollment we can ask passengers to volunteer to be these deputy air marshals during critical events and qualify them at training centers. passengers may do nothing because of the potential civil liability and because they are expecting air marshals to respond. an air marshal taken away from protecting the flight deck endangers the entire jet. pilots may not be safely allowed to land a jet over an ocean while attackers are going on a murder spree. in the case of absolute chaos in the cabin, the pilots need the
ability to disorient an attacker by shutting off all lighting or high sound alarms. pilots can actually don oxygen masks and depressurize the cabin. due to all of this and give the flight attendants and regular passengers the right to save their lives or others on the ground. you can assign air marshals in airports to find terrorists and bombs before they go up in the sky. hiring thousands of flying air marshals after 9/11 was a natural reaction but should have only been a temporary detail and not a career. not many young and ambitious people long for a career in an airline seat. half the job would be flying and the rest time to recover train and investigate. they stress that no one can sustain five years of flying four to five days a week.
14 years later air marshals tell me there's still not ground opportunities. we should train federal and local law enforcement officers to quickly deploy as reserve air marshals in order to respond to specific threats. all federal employees are reluctant to report murnoney wasted because they're don't want to gamble with their careers. the tiny underfunded agency that relies on whistleblower kams. kimberly farington blew the case. and she had a hearing 18 months ago and still the judge has not made a hearing. or made a decision. if i had a jury, i would have won six years ago. federal employees are the only workers who do not have access to jury trials. a restaurant cook reporting spoiled food being served has more due process than an air
marshal reporting security lapses that can kill hundreds of people and cripple the aviation industry. the list goes on. what about air marshals could echo to me. i've availed myself all week to meet with members of congress and my fellow tsa force. many may think these are risky or even crazy. but i'm limited to go into detail about how the benefits can greatly outweigh the risks. we're just doing our best to think like a suicidal attacker. i hope we don't need another 9/11 to prove we're accurate. i'm excited to serve with the new head of the tsa. i hope he's soon confirmed. i look forward to answering your questions. i apologize for going over time. >> i appreciate your testimony and your courage to blow the whistle. our next witness is jennifer grover. the director of transportation security and coast guard issues
for the government accountability office. her work at the gao includes assessing the vulnerabilities throughout the screening process. >> thank you. good morning chairman johnson, ranking member carper, other members and staff. last week, renewed concerns arose about tsa's screening systems and whether they are sufficient to identify prohibited items. tsa has developed a layered security approach that is sound in principle. gao supports tsa's move toward risk-based screening. to fully deliver the promised security protections under both traditional and expedited screening, tsa must do two things. take more rigorous steps to ensure each layer of security works as intended and put stums in place to monitor their effectiveness. gao has reported weaknesses in tsa's oversight of its screening
systems, raising questions about whether they are falling short in their ability to maintain aviation security. tsa has taiken steps to improve oversight of these systems but additional actions are needed. today we'll focus on four areas. first, the secure flight program which matches passenger information against federal government watch lists to identify those who should not fly or should receive enhanced screening. second, the ait systems which are the full body scanners used to screen passengers for prohibited items at the checkpoint. third, the managed inclusioning screening process which tsa uses to provide expedited screening for those not previously lyly identified as low risk and background checks done to vet airport workers. we fond in september 2014 that tsa did not have timely information about the extent or causes of system matching errors which occur when a secure flight
fails to identify passengers who were matches to the watch list. in response to our recommendations, tsa has developed a mechanism to keep track of known matching errors and is considering methods to evaluate overall matching accuracy rates. second regarding the ait body scanners. we found in march 2014 that tsa did not include information about screener performance when they were evaluating ait effectiveness. rather, tsa's assessment was limited to the accuracy of the ait systems in the laboratory. however, after an ait machine identifies a potential threat, a screening officer has to do a targeted patdown to resolve the alarm. thus the consistency with which the screeners conduct the patdowns properly and identify all threat problems is key to ensuring the effectiveness of the ait systems in the airport
operating environment. we recommended that tsa assess ait effectiveness as a function of both the technology and screening officers who run it. tsa concurred with the recommendation and sent updated information about their efforts to address it which are under review within gao. third, in december 2014 we found tsa had not tested the security effectiveness of the managed inclusion process as it fnks functions as a whole. tsa uses multiple layers of security explosive detection devices in canines to mitigate the risk with screening randomly selected passengers in a system design forward low-rink passengers. however, if these security layers are not working as intended, tsa may not be sufficientley screening passengers. tsa has tested the individual layers of security in managed inclusion and reported them to be effective.
gao has raised concerns about the effectiveness of some of those. tsa is planning to complete testing of the managed inclusion system by mid-2016. finally, regarding tsa's involvement in airport worker vetting we found in december 2011 that they were conducting background checks based on limited criminal history information. tsa's level of access to criminal history records was excludeing many state records. tsa and the fbi confirmed there was a risk of incomplete information and the fbi has reported expanding the criminal history records it provides to tsa. in conclusion tsa has made progress improving its screening oversight such as taking steps to assess the vulnerabilities in the screen flight program and to obtain more access to criminal background information. yet more work remains to ensure
secure flight, ait and managed inclusion are working as tsa intends. this concludes my statement, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, ms. grover. inspector general roth i want to start with you and be careful in the way i ask the question. but can you speak to the level of preparation and level of sophistication of the people on the red team in trying to assess the effectiveness of the system? >> that's going to be a very difficult question to answer in this environment. i will say that the testers we used are auditors. member of the oig workforce. they don't have any specialized training in this work. to go into more detail about nice, may be problematic. >> there are a bunch of accountants. i'm an akontant as well. >> no insult to accountants.
>> was there -- did we see, you know, some airports perform better than others so we can see what works or what doesn't work? >> i can't get into the specifics of the actual results of the testing. we've done field work. we've not written a report yet. we do field work and analyze the results. do the kinds of comparisons you're talking about and then report them out. i will say the results were consistent across airports. >> i won't go any further than that. i'd like to talk about the number of standard operating procedures or protocols. howe many are there? i see a briefing. i've seen all the acronyms. and the point is how overwhelming these detailed standard operating procedures are for individual tsos. >> thank you for the question. yes, sir, there are a number of standard operating procedures.
i don't know the specific number but there's a checkpoint sop, a checked baggage sop. sop for the ticket documenter checker position. known crew member sop. bdo sop, passenger screening canine sop and those are just the ones i can think of off the top of my head. >> there are a lot more. how detailed are those sops? >> very detailed. >> we're humans. it's hard to have at your fingertips and the training involved of someone able to follow every one of those sops with the volume and through-put we're trying to achieve is a real problem isn't it? >> there are a number of very specific procedures in the sop. during the training process, the sops are separated out so when you are being trained in that function you'll be relying on
the sop that applies. the bdo sop wouldn't need to be normal tso would not need to know those sops as well as the manage inclusion and passenger sops as well as the management inclusion and passenger screening came in with the sop. so while there are a number of them, you don't have to be proficient in every one of the sops. >> my first question is i do want to get into the precheck program and my concern in the precheck program of what i think is a really good idea and most people would agree it's a really good idea but only if completely followed and if we do complete background checks. whoever is best able to answer the question in terms of how many people have been cleared how many actually went through a thorough vetting that we expect
versus under pressure to accomplish the throughput objective, how many would be approved in a watered down process? miss grover you seem to be ready to answer the question. >> i believe there are about a million people now that applied for precheck, but there are about 7.2 million people who have a known traveller number who would routinely get precheck on the boarding pass because of their affiliation with certain groups. such as people who are in the cpd trusted traveler programs or dod active duty military, and then, of course, in addition to that, people could get precheck on a one-time basis through the risk assessment or at the airport through random selection through managed inclusion. >> talk to me a little bit about automated -- i mean the last thing you talked about. automated risk assessment? >> yes, sir.
automated risk assessment. the first thing that tsa does is they check to see if a passenger is on one of the terrorists watch lists. if they are not, then tsa checks to see if the person is already a known traveler, so signed up with precheck and has a known traveler number. if not, then all of the rest of the passengers are screened against a set of risk rules that tsa has designed based on intelligence, and based on certain characteristics of the traveling passenger, including information about the flight, that specific flight that they're looking at and the individual can receive the precheck on their boarding pass. on a one-time basis. >> would anybody else want to comment on the watering down of the vetting process? >> just so you understand, tsa has increased dramatically the use of precheck over the last several years. it has gone from a test kind of
a case into a situation where between 40% and 50% of all the traveling public gets an expedited screening, whether it's through managed inclusion whether it's part of a government-trusted traveler program, or whether it's through, as miss grover talked about, the risk rules. >> as precheck was originally conceived with a full vetting process, how many people received the full vetting process to 40 or 50% of the traveling public qualifying for precheck? >> the tsa recently celebrated 1 million people who have the -- have applied for precheck through the vetting program, as ms. grover says. there are other trusted traveler programs, for example, cdp has a trusted traveler program it's very similar to precheck actually more extensive than precheck. so those folks get grandfathered
in and obviously other members of congress and other trusted populations get grandfathered in, and you are talking about 1.8 million people per day traveling and you are talking about the significant portion of the flying public is that truly unknown to tsa, and -- >> and they are waving you through. i am out of time. senator carper. thank you for joining us today and for your testimony and for your work. before we talk about some things that tsa needs to do better, let's talk about give us one thing that they are doing well, and give us just one thing they are doing well. john, would you lead us off there, please? >> certainly. that's the hazard that i have in this occupation, i only focus on the negative as opposed to the positive. >> we never do that in our jobs. >> certainly, the people sitting to my left are people with courage to sort of see something that's gone wrong and try to fix it. and i suspect within the tsa population, there are people every day, thousands of people, who get up put on that uniform
and go to work and try to do their best every single day. again, when you only focus on the negatives, you forget about the overwhelming majority of that population that really wants to do the right thing and cares about their job. >> let me interrupt you for a second. when i -- i fly a fair amount and not as much as my colleagues, and most of my travel is on trains, and when tsa is doing a good job, polite and courteous, and i thank them and they have no idea who i am, they think i am ron johnson. day-to-day, it's probably mixed. but that's something you might want to think of. one of the things that makes people like their job, they know what they are doing is important and they feel like they are making progress. and people -- we just had an interesting study about a month or two ago that said very senior
level positions in the federal government are likely leaving and one of the things is as hard as they work, they never get thanked. it's a little thing and something we want to keep in mind. on the other hand when somebody is out of order and doing things out of order i will tell them and then then i tell them who i am. let me get to rebecca, give us one thing they are doing well? >> i think risk security is a good procedure, and as long as there is not risks associated with it, 99.99% of the traveling public simply wants to get from point a to point b safely and securely, and we need to focus on a way to quickly expedite those passengers and focus on that very small percentage of people that actually pose a threat to aviation security. and the only way we can do that is using a risk security approach. >> okay. >> once again, i really like the pre-check program, and it just blows away hay from that hay
stack so we can get down to the one needle. >> that's a good point. >> and then the other program i really love is the viper teams. the visible, intermodal preference and response teams. i really want officers down deep in the airports, establishing relationships with a guy whose job is to mop up hydraulic fluid. he probably is -- >> hold it there, and i will run out of time. good points. thank you. >> ms. grover. >> so i'd like to echo what you previously heard and say that risk-based security at tsa has the opportunity to offer tremendous efficiencies, so i would encourage them to go ahead and continue to work on that. >> all right. good. >> the most important element of any organization that i've been part of or seen is leadership. you have great leadership and you have a fighting chance to be successful and if you don't, you are probably doomed. john pistol is a good leader,
and he has a lot of respect my me and on a bipartisan basis. the president seemed fit to nominate admiral messenger. i think he's an excellent choice and we'll have a hearing and we are doing our vetting right now. once again, if admiral messenger were here, and you had an opportunity to say this would be a top priority for you, what would the opportunity be, mrs. grover? what would you say? >> i would go back and echo the remarks that chairman johnson made at the beginning and point out tsa's primary mission is to ensure aviation security. another important competing mission is to insure the free flow of commerce and passengers, and those goals are intention, and so at this time when questions have been raised about whether or not the fundamentals are working properly, it's important to have a strong leader in place to be able to guide the organization to figure out how to balance those two elements. >> thank you.
>> one piece of advice for the admiral if he is confirmed? >> more emphasis on protecting the flight deck or cockpit. >> thank you. >> i think that the leadership of the agency is one that really focuses on wait times and we need to focus less on wait times and be more concerned about detection rates and giving our officers the time they need to process the passengers and bags in a manner they feel is comfortable, the bag does not contain a weapon or prohibited item. >> all right. thank you. john roth. >> i had the good fortune of meeting with the admiral prior to one of his hearings, and i think the biggest thing that he needs to understand, and i think he does understand this, is an acknowledgment that there is a significant challenge here. i am not sure that has been embraced tsa wide, so in order
to fix a problem you have to fully understand it, and i think he is committed to doing that. >> all right. my last question is similar to my first two. give us some good advice. come back and pick up one point that you mentioned for us. tsa gives us this great list for us to use. give us just one great to-do for our list, aside from maybe confirmation good leader. give us one good one. >> understanding the risks you are attempting to manage, and understand the risk behind the technology and understand the risk behind the management processes and manage against the risks and if you don't understand the risks, you will not be able to manage against it. >> i will take one out of my statement and that has to do with the fact that we have nobody in the field overseeing the numerous contracts that tsa has engaged in and no way to